CSIs: this weeks heroes

Just once in a while you get the feeling that the battle against evil is not lost. Do you remember the old lady who was conned by the dodgy gardeners? We had some success: firstly the CCTV from the garage identified the van, but not the driver; but the van was stopped in another area when someone reported suspicious gardeners (you must look really dodgy to be a suspicious gardener). The driver was identified as Shane McDogger a well known crook of the travelling fraternity. He wasn’t arrested because he wasn’t wanted for anything – no outstanding warrants, nothing – but there’s more.
While I was mooning about and being generally over- emotional about the poor old lady’s plight, other more professional officers – Crime Scene Examiners to be precise – were reinterviewing the woman, who was a bit more astute than she looked when I met her. She was able to point out that, whilst savaging her garden, the unpleasant pair were smoking and discarding their dimps beneath the bushes; in fact the ace witness was even able to point some out to the scientific sleuths. And you know what cigarette ends are good for don’t you? DNA. Whose DNA do you think was on the tip of about half of the dog ends? Yep, Mc Dogger.

As the officer in the case I have, with great pleasure, arranged for a Wanted marker to placed on his record on the Police National Computer so that the next time an officer comes across him, he will be arrested – I do hope he is stopped by a dog handler and runs away.

It is worth mentioning at this juncture, that our CSIs do not have the glamour of their counterparts in LasVegas or Miami; they are not allowed to waltz all over crime scenes in amazing Armani or Gorgeous Gucci; but with ruthless professionalism they do a marvellous job. They are definitely not as good looking as Jonathon Togo ; but I forgive them.

May 5, 2007. crime, girl-stuff, men, police, TV cops, Uncategorized, vulnerable people. Leave a comment.

Getting it out of your system

I could not get the old lady victim of the other day out of my system. Sometimes it’s like that, things go round and round your head: what difference will it make to her if I catch the bastards who attacked her? How many other lives did they walk all over the same day? My dad says you just have to put things to the back of your mind; in the old days drink was the answer (even for my dad) – now we are a little more enlightened, at least some of us are. I went for a long run, then a sauna and then treated myself to a facial at the gym: my skin had gone blotchy, probably with stress so the lovely Babor face stuff they have there was more than justified in my view.

This question of incidents sticking with you is interesting; I had a conversation with my dad not so long ago: he claimed not to be troubled by some of the things he’d seen; but when I pushed him he could dredge up, in great detail, memories of suicides, murders and fatal road traffic accidents – I think he was a bit surprised by the way some of that detail had stuck. It makes you wonder about the ‘hard-man’ attitude of some of the lads when it comes to things like post-traumatic counselling after serious incidents like child death.

I’m on nights this weekend, should be action packed and full of things to tell you. I already have a little snippet of news from the nick, but will try and do that one afternoon after I get up.

March 30, 2007. Babor, girl-stuff, life, make-up, night duty, vulnerable people, working women. Leave a comment.

Springtime, and the vermin come out of hibernation

It’s spring; yesterday I thoroughly enjoyed a day of walking my beat in the fresh spring sunshine. Spring also brings out some of the worst types of crooks. I was sent to deal with a report of a bogus gardener. Doesn’t sound too bad does it? As you will see though, these people are some of the most cynical and heartless…I’m struggling for a word to describe them that isn’t extremely offensive.

Typically these characters pose as someone offering a service; they target older, vulnerable people, most commonly women, aged 80+, struggling to maintain their independence in their own home. They either simply con their way into the house and steal from these people or, as in this case, bully the victim into having unnecessary work done on their house or garden, then charging them hugely inflated prices. In this case the lady was 87yrs old, proud and independent – until now. She was visited by, what appeared to be, jobbing gardeners who, without asking her, trimmed trees and shrubs in her back garden. They then demanded £750 for the, appallingly shoddy, work. She had £500 pounds in the house(!); they agreed to settle for that (out of the goodness of their hearts). It was only after she told the home carer about the gardeners that the alarm was raised – she didn’t even want the carer to do anything about it because, having realised she’d been done over, she felt stupid.

My job is, predominantly, to investigate the crime and catch the crook; but I couldn’t help feeling that anything we did in that line was secondary to what this poor old woman needed. Sat in the quiet of her living room, amongst the faded wall paper and furniture that must have been from the 1970s, she looked small and crumpled, as if some of the stuffing had been taken out of her (I understand now where that phrase ‘knock the stuffing out of you…’ comes from). My instinct was to gather people around her: friends, relatives anyone to protect her; but she refused to let me contact any of her grown up children; “Don’t tell them, they’ll have me put in a home…” was her reasoning.

I’ll bust a gut to catch these crooks: neighbours have given a description of the white Transit pick-up van used and the name on the side: ‘Gary’s Gardens’, though doubtless the name will have changed by now. My best shot is that the van will have been picked up by CCTV passing near to the local shops; I’ve already arranged for it to be examined by a colleague on another shift whilst I’m on my rest days.

Even now I can’t help thinking about this incident (as you can tell). The most enduring thought I have is not just anger at these bullies; but rather that they have no idea what they are doing to people: they are stealing far more than money.

March 28, 2007. crime, life, police, vulnerable people. Leave a comment.